Anyone familiar with traveling for work knows how stressful temporary job relocations and business trips can be. Between figuring out what to do with your stuff, taking care of your home, booking flights, packing luggage, and finding accommodations, there are a lot things to plan. With these 21 business travel tips and tricks, however, your next trip can be much less stressful!
Research Your Destination
Get a better sense of what to expect during your stay by reading travel blogs, checking online reviews for popular places to visit, and looking over local visitor guides. This will help you find must-see attractions, top-rated restaurants, and will make your business trip more enjoyable!
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
Take advantage of frequent flyer perks—like free or reduced plane tickets, seat upgrades, airport lounge access, and other travel rewards—by booking with the same airline whenever you travel for work. United Airline’s Perks Plus and American Airline’s Business Extra are two top-notch business travel reward programs available. Certain hotel chains and car rental services also offer generous reward programs, such as Hilton’s Hilton Honors program and National Car Rental’s Emerald Club.
Register for TSA PreCheck
Save time and enjoy a less stressful business travel experience by applying for TSA PreCheck. As of January 2020, 94% of PreCheck passengers spent just five minutes or less in the airport security line. And qualifying is simple—all you need to do is fill out an online application, pay the requisite fee, and attend a ten-minute in-person background check. This convenient pre-screen is a favorite among traveling professionals.
Consider Buying Travel Insurance
If your company doesn’t offer coverage for employees traveling for business, it may be wise to look into travel insurance. Allianz Travel Insurance and Amex Assurance are among the best insurance companies for corporate travelers. However, travel insurance for business trips won’t always be necessary. It all depends on whether paying for coverage against lost luggage, medical emergencies, and other potential travel-related hardships will provide you with some peace of mind.
Use a Credit Card with Travel Rewards
Reap rewards like free checked bags, complimentary airport lounge access, cash back, hotel discounts, and more by using a travel credit card for your business trips. Some of the best credit cards for business travel include the Capital One Venture Card and Discover It Miles Card. Though some of your expenses might be reimbursed by your employer or the company currently contracting you, using a top-rated business travel card is a great way to save money and enjoy additional perks.
Make Lodging Arrangements Early
The longer your business trip, the further in advance you should figure out where you’ll be staying. The length of your stay will determine what kind of accommodation you should book. Relocating for work for a few months or years? Choose a corporate apartment, extended stay hotel, or short-term rental property, as these temporary housing options offer more space and comfort. Only traveling for work for a few days or weeks? A traditional hotel experience might be better suited to your needs.
Try to Book Nonstop Flights
Want to shorten your travel time on your next business trip? Opt for nonstop flights instead of direct flights! What’s the difference? They’re similar in that you’ll stay on the same plane until you reach your destination, but direct flights will include stops along the way, whereas nonstop flights won’t.
Skip Checked Bags When Possible
During shorter work trips, you can easily avoid the additional expense of checking a bag by condensing belongings into a carry-on bag—just make sure to check TSA guidelines for carry-ons before you pack. You can also fit more items in your suitcase by packing lighter and smarter with travel hacks like rolling clothing instead of folding them or using packing cubes!
Nothing makes traveling for business more frustrating than losing an important document or realizing you’ve forgotten to pack dress shoes. Oversights like these aren’t just stressful to deal with; they can also be costly. Practice smart travel habits like using a travel planning checklist, storing important documents in a single folder or binder, and keeping gadgets in an accessory organizer when not in use.
Download Helpful Apps
Digital resources for traveling professionals are everywhere. Download Concur to track and categorize corporate travel expenses without holding onto physical receipts. Check out FLIO, which can help you find your away around airports you’ve never been to before. Need to organize your business travel itinerary? Give TripIt a try. And don’t forget about AroundMe, an app that can help you find restaurants, ATMs, and other amenities near you in unfamiliar cities!
Carry a WiFi Hotspot
Most places you’ll visit on your business trip will have WiFi access, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for those moments when there’s no connection. Your smartphone can act as a hotspot, but keep in mind that this requires connection to a cellular network and can sometimes mean slower signals. Especially if you’re a frequent business traveler who needs to stay connected at all times, you might consider carrying a standalone WiFi hotspot.
Keep Portable Chargers On-Hand
Don’t let a dead phone or laptop stop you from working while traveling! Even if you’re always careful to charge your electronics before taking them out, it’s still a good idea to keep portable chargers with you wherever you go. There are plenty of great portable power banks out there to choose from!
Print Your Travel Documents
Carrying physical copies of your travel documents can be a lifesaver—particularly if your phone runs out of juice right when you need it. Keep a paper version of your itinerary whenever you travel for work to ensure that you never miss a meeting, flight, or corporate event because of a tech malfunction!
Pack Healthy Snacks
Traveling can take quite a toll on the body, so keep your energy high with protein-rich snacks like nuts or jerky, and boost your vitamin C levels with fresh fruit when possible. A well-balanced diet is critical if you want your business trip to be productive and comfortable!
Get Plenty of Sleep
Stay happy and healthy when traveling for work by getting plenty of sleep. You can even start preparing before you depart. If your corporate travels are taking you to a different time zone, adjust your sleep schedule as if you were already in that time zone in the days leading up to your trip.
Don’t Forget About Self Care
Your physical health and your mental health go hand in hand, so don’t let the latter fall by the wayside when traveling for work. Take time out of your schedule to rest, exercise, or even meditate. This can boost your mood, alleviate stress, and help you stay productive. And if you’re going to be away for a long period of time, do your best to make your temporary housing feel like home in the meantime!
Going over budget on a business trip is a surefire way to make it more stressful than it needs to be. Establish a budget before you leave, then find out what expenses you’ll be able to write off—and which you won’t—by checking your company’s corporate travel policy. Once you’ve departed, track business and personal expenses alike to keep your spending in check.
Socialize with Colleagues & Clients
Loneliness is a common problem among traveling professionals. Combat these feelings of isolation by getting to know the colleagues and clients you interact with during your trip. Take them out for dinner or drinks on an evening off, and remember to keep business talk off the table. You’ll have enough of opportunities to discuss work, so mix and mingle when you can. These casual conversations will make traveling for work more enjoyable and could even boost your business prospects.
Practice Safe Travel Habits
Don’t make yourself a target for theft or other criminal activity by flashing your cash or overdressing. Instead, do your best to seem like a local. Travel in groups as often as possible when walking from place to place, stick to well-lit areas you know at night, and keep valuables in a safe at your hotel or apartment when you can. Also, always make note of the nearest hospital to your hotel or apartment upon arrival.
Ship Souvenirs Home
Planning to bring something home to friends or family after your travels? Souvenirs can take up space in your luggage, especially when your bag is already full. Instead of disrupting the careful organization you used to pack before departure, ship any purchases you’ve made during your business trip back home. The lighter your bags are and the fewer you have to lug around, the better!
Maintain Your Routine
Make an effort to keep up your usual routine as much as possible while you’re temporarily relocated for work. Go to bed at around the same time as you would at home, limit alcohol consumption, and set workout goals. Consistency is key when you’re going to be away for some time!
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